When people ask me who had the most influence over me in regard to developing my relationship with God, the first person that comes to mind is my maternal grandmother. My grams had a tremendous impact on my faith and relationship with God. As a child, I remember spending countless weekends at her house learning the story of Jesus and what it means to have eternal life. I loved the look on Grams’ face when I asked her to tell me about God. Her eyes had a glorious candor, and I sensed that she loved sharing Him with me. She shared His grace and explained how I could have eternal life if I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. To be honest, as a child, I don’t think I fully grasped what it all meant. I just knew I wanted to please God, so I could spend eternity in heaven.
Over the years, in addition to hearing about the gospel, I came to learn that one of Grams' favorite worship songs was “Amazing Grace.” I mean, who doesn’t love that song? It perfectly describes how God’s grace saves us and gives us new life. Recently, in church, we sang, “Broken Vessels - Amazing Grace” which contains snippets of “Amazing Grace.” While I was worshiping, my conversations with Grams came flooding back. I had a “God moment” connecting the lyrics, “I once was blind, but now I see” to John chapter 9, which I had just read for my CRAVE group study.
John chapter 9 opens with Jesus coming across a man who was blind since birth. The disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2 NIV). Jesus informs them that neither had sinned, rather the man was blind so that God could be displayed in the man (John 9:3). Jesus spit on the ground and made mud, then put the mud on the man’s eyes, and told him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. When the man did this, he was able to see!
A few verses later, the man is questioned by the Pharisees about how he regained his sight. He explains to them what Jesus did, and they think he is lying. They didn’t believe he was the man who was born blind, until his parents confirm this fact (John 9:18).
When the Pharisees question the man a second time, they still don’t fully believe his sight was regained through a miracle performed by Jesus. As they continue to question him about how Jesus cured his blindness, the man seems to get frustrated that they keep doubting him. He finally says to the Pharisees, “Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become His disciples too?” (John 9:27). At this, the Pharisees questioned the validity of who Jesus was, and proclaim to be disciples of Moses. The man can’t believe what he is hearing, and tells them, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” (John 9:33 NIV). After another exchange, the Pharisees throw the man out. While this part of the chapter describes how Jesus was able to give physical sight back to the man, my “God moment” came when I thought about what Jesus says about blindness at the chapter's conclusion.
When Jesus finds the man, after the Pharisees had thrown him out, He asks the man if he believes in the Son of Man (John 9:35). Jesus explains to the man that he is speaking to Him, and the man replies by saying, “Lord, I believe.” (John 9:38). When some of the Pharisees hear Jesus explaining to the man that He came into the world, so that the blind would see and those who see would become blind, they ask Jesus, “What? Are we blind too?” (John 9:40). Jesus replies, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:41).
After pondering this last verse while singing “Broken Vessels - Amazing Grace,” I finally grasped what Grams was trying to teach me. Because I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my eyes are now open to what is right and wrong. Since I am no longer “blind,” I am responsible for the sins I commit. I don’t want to be like the Pharisees and miss out on what Jesus was trying to teach them. They missed the glory of this lesson which is, when we are in relationship with God, and ask for forgiveness of our sins, we get to spend eternity basking in His grace, love, joy, and acceptance.
Stephanie Patterson is originally from Denver, Colorado, and has called Las Vegas home since 2013. She has been married to her incredibly supportive and patient husband, Gabriel, since 2008. Her blended family includes 3 children – 2 adult children living productively on their own (hallelujah!), and a spunky, creative pre-teen who keeps her on her toes. Stephanie became a mother at a young age, and in her late 30s, is finally figuring out who she is. What she has discovered about herself, thus far, is she loves to read, write, cook/bake, and nap. What she has always known is that her heart belongs to God, and she feels called to connect with people who need help seeing that God loves and accepts them as they are. Stephanie is looking forward to sharing her life experiences and hopes to connect with others through the grace and glory of God.